IPL 2020: 'He should be No. 1,' Brian Lara picks Dhoni's successor among Rahul, Pant, Samson
West Indian legend Brian Lara has picked wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant as MS Dhoni’s successor, saying the Delhi Capitals (DC) player has matured as a batsman over the last one year or so.
West Indian legend Brian Lara has picked wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant as MS Dhoni's successor, saying the Delhi Capitals (DC) player has matured as a batsman over the last one year or so.
Who should replace Dhoni as India's wicketkeeper-batsman in limited-overs? - this question has been doing the rounds for a while now and only gained pace when Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket in August. The heartbreaking semi-final loss to New Zealand at the 2019 Cricket World Cup remained Dhoni's last outing with the Indian team.
Speaking on Star Sports' show 'Cricket Connected', Lara agreed that KL Rahul, Sanju Samson, and Pant have been in a pretty fine form before the iconic left-handed batsman added that Pant is the top contender take Dhoni's spot in the Indian cricket team.
"Rishabh Pant a year ago, I would say no, but I feel that he has stepped up in terms of his responsibility as a batsman. Look at how he plays for Delhi Capitals, it looks like he wants that responsibility, he wants that onus on him to score runs, build an innings and get big scores. If he continues that way, I think that he should the No. 1," Lara said on 'Cricket Connected'.
Even though Pant has not taken the IPL 2020 by storm yet, he has been one of the consistent performers for DC, who are the only side to have clinched four wins in five games. In five innings, Pant has scored 171 runs at an average of 42.75 with 38 being his highest score. Pant has crossed the 30-run mark only twice in the ongoing edition of IPL.
Meanwhile, when Lara was asked about Rahul – who had replaced Pant as India's wicketkeeper-batsman towards the end of 2019, the West Indian great opined that the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) skipper should not be burdened with the glove's duties.
"Well, first of all, I would like to say that KL Rahul should not be bothered with wicketkeeping when it comes to that Indian squad. He's such a great batsman that I feel that he should concentrate on that and put in a lot of runs on the board," Lara added.
With 302 runs in five innings, Rahul is currently the Orange Cap holder in the IPL 2020, ahead of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) star Faf du Plessis (299 runs) and KXIP teammate Mayank Agarwal (272 runs). Rahul and Mayank are the only batters to have scored a century in IPL 2020.
Speaking about Rajasthan Royals (RR) batter Samson, Lara said, "Sanju Samson, who is not 'keeping for Rajasthan Royals, but I do understand that he keeps, that's one of his main jobs – very classy player, looks good so far in the tournament in Sharjah. I feel there's a little chink in his armoury in terms of his technique against very good bowling on sporty tracks."